Another school year has come to a close for Mr. Grahnke. That makes 6 but since I'm a Special Ed teacher it feels like 42 years (works like doggie years). This last year was out in Rockton, a place far different then my Hard Knock life in Berwyn. I didn't know what to expect when we made the move out to the Rockford area. We were leaving friends and my side of the family behind and walking away from jobs where people loved us. We were making this jump in the early diagnosis of ALS, where I was naive to just how much this was going to turn my world upside down.
My classroom at Whitman Post in Rockton consisted of students in 2nd-5th grade. Variety of disabilities, all different schedules and ability levels, the beginning of the year was madness. It was madness at home as well. Michelle and I were constantly trying to stay ahead of my ALS progression. It started with very minor adjustments here and there, to installing a ramp, shower chair, wheelchair shopping, to transfer boards. We even had to swap out our brand new Tempura-Pedic mattress, that wasn't even a year old, for the guest mattress to give me more support during transfer and while sleeping. At this point in my progression I need a bed that can raise up and down to give me more support. At the moment I'm giving Michelle quite the tricep workout every morning when I need help to sit up. This race against ALS still takes place every day. We work with teams of people to keep my quality of life at a B+ or higher. There are excellent days and then there are days where Michelle can't help me do a thing because I'm too busy crying my eyes out and cursing God for this place I'm in.
At Whitman Post the 5th grade classrooms each wear a shirt with the Superman logo on it, only the S is replaced by a 5th on the shield. I feel like Superman when I come to WPES. I get to tear off the suit of burden I carry when I can't do things on my own I once could, and throw the pissed off feelings to the side so I can do what God intended me to do. Teach. It's been a rough year, but with the support from my WPES family I've been able to be a superhero again, I've been able to help the kids that need it the most, I've been able to bring home a good attitude to my amazing wife and I've been able to witness tremendous amounts of Grace.
DUDE. be nice. Gronks